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    THE PROMISES TO ISRAEL

    For he looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.”PROLI 135.1

    “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise.”PROLI 135.2

    IN the Saviour’s sermon on the mount there is a prophecy which is familiar to everyone who has read the Bible at all, but which is very seldom thought of as a prophecy. It is this: “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. This prophecy, which is at the same time a blessed promise, is only one link in a chain of promises that will find their fulfillment at the second coming of our Lord. The study of these promises in their connection with one another, serves to throw light on many passages of the Bible that are otherwise obscure, and to bring out in bold relief the Christian’s hope.PROLI 135.3

    It should be evident at first thought that the promise that the meek shall inherit the earth, does not refer to the earth in its present condition, and under the present order of things. A meek person is one who is “mild of temper; not easily provoked or irritated; given to forbearance under injuries; soft, gentle, yielding.” By a comparison of this definition with the description of charity, in 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, we must conclude that meekness and charity necessarily exist together, or, rather, that meekness is a part of that charity which is “the bond of perfectness,” for “charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” This was the character of Christ. “When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” 1 Peter 2:23. He “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:28), and he said of himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” Matthew 11:29.PROLI 136.1

    Now a person who possesses these qualities is so rarely found as to be peculiar; and in the struggle for place and power in this world he will invariably be left behind. The man who doesn’t look out for himself will have a very limited amount of this world’s goods; for, as a general thing, he will not find others to look out for him. With rare exceptions, those who have great worldly possessions have acquired them by aggressively pushing their own claims. The most of the wealth of this world is in the hands of men who do not fear God, and who have but little regard for man. The following description of “the prosperity of the wicked” in ancient times, will apply equally well today:—PROLI 136.2

    “They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither; and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” Psalm 73:5-12.PROLI 136.3

    At one time when there was a strife among the disciples of Jesus, as to “which of them should be accounted the greatest,” Jesus showed them the difference between those who now possess this world, and those to whom it is promised as a future inheritance, by saying:—PROLI 136.4

    “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.... Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:25-30.PROLI 136.5

    The epistle of James was addressed “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1), and in that we read: “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” And then the apostle adds, “Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment-seats?” James 2:5, 6.PROLI 137.1

    From these texts we must conclude that the earth, which is to be inherited by the meek, is the kingdom of which those who are poor in this world’s goods, but rich in faith, are heirs. Those who learn of Him who is meek and lowly in heart, and who follow him in his life of self-denial, being sharers in his sufferings, may now be oppressed and derided by the haughty who have more than heart can wish; but a time will come when they who hunger now shall be filled, and those who are full now shall hunger; when those who weep now shall laugh, and those who laugh now shall mourn and lament. (See Luke 6:20-25.) The psalmist, in the following words, tells when the meek shall inherit the earth: “For evil-doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:9-11.PROLI 137.2

    But those who share this abundance of peace will be Israelites, and none others. For an Israelite indeed is one “in whom is no guile” (John 1:47); and none can stand before God except those who are without fault, having no guile. Revelation 14:5. Paul also says that “he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:29.PROLI 137.3

    Thus the subject is before us in brief outline. We learn that the inheritance is yet future; that the earth is the kingdom which the meek shall inherit; that the saints who shall inherit the earth will be none other than the twelve tribes of Israel; and that they will not enter into the possession of their inheritance until after the wicked have had their day of prosperity, and have been cut off. The details of the promises and their fulfillment will now claim our attention.PROLI 137.4

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